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    Nathaniel Bowditch Lecture Series
    From: George Brandenburg
    Date: 2010 Nov 17, 13:10 -0800

    I just finished giving a historical lecture series on Nathaniel Bowditch at the Salem (MA) Athenaeum, and my slides etc are posted in a folder at http://public.me.com/gwbburg. It should be noted that NB is one of Salem's two most famous heros (both named Nathaniel), and he was a co-founder of the Athenaeum 200 years ago. I had a great class of about 25 people who were a combination of local history buffs and old salts, and the lectures were very well received.

    The four lectures were on Bowditch's early years, an Intro to 19th Cent Celestial Nav, the publishing saga of The New American Practical Navigator (NAPN), and Bowditch's later years. The second lecture was based on what I learned at Frank's excellent course at Mystic Seaport last March, and I also have to give him credit for a lot of background info on the NAPN origins. The posted lectures are pdf files, but I've also included a single power point animated cartoon slide about making a lunar sight for your amusement.

    One feature that was a big hit was a Google Earth display of two different voyages: the maiden voyage of the East Indiaman Friendship in 1797-98 and Bowditch's final voyage on the Putnam in 1802-03. I've also posted the GE .kmz files for these. To display them you need to have GE installed on your computer, and if you give it a try, the daily log entries are shown as stars (grey - dead reckoning only, yellow - lat from sun sight, red - long from lunar sight (using the sun), and lime - lunar sight (using a star). They are time sequenced so that you can "play" the voyages using the GE timeline feature. The Friendship voyage file only shows the outbound leg with no textual log entries. However, the Bowditch file shows the complete round trip with textual log entries for the last nine days (the famous return into Salem in foggy, snowy conditions).

    I've also include a "modified" ending for the Bowditch voyage where I've shifted the dead reckoned longitude values west by 2.5 degrees to line up with the the lunar longitude Bowditch recorded 7 days before docking. When I get a chance I'd like to write up my interpretation of the voyage ending, which was a fascinating combination of bad weather together reasonable course info from solar/lunar sights, depth soundings, communication with another vessel, and a lighthouse sighting. In any case it's a happy ending and a nice contrast to the Shovell disaster.

    Please let me know if you have any questions or have problems with the posted files.

    George (Brandenburg)
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